By Elvis L. Hoffpauir, MACS president and COO
MACS has been in Phoenix all week participating in the 2011 Alternate Refrigerant and System Efficiency Symposium. With the industry currently engaged in mobile air conditioning refrigerant transition activities, this event has convened leading experts from around the globe to discuss the major transition and new technologies that will affect the future of the industry…and the future of all MACS member service shops and technicians. First convened in the 90’s, this annual gathering of technology leaders is an essential forum for the sharing of information, ideas and technological innovation.
Joining engineers from most of the world’s vehicle manufactures, tier one suppliers and other technical specialist for this forum are policy makers, regulators and other industry observers.
During this week, technical presentations provide a vision of the future of interior cabin climate control, and workshops are convened to discuss and reach consensus on seminal standards for vehicle interior cabin climate control strategies, systems, components, equipment, tools and service procedures. The work done and decisions made here will almost certainly have an impact on service shops around the country, and around the world.
Among topics under discussion were regulations currently in effect or likely to be proposed at the state and national level to address the expected transition from R-134a to an alternative, low GWP refrigerant. Alternatives for the next global refrigerant were discussed. Options for temperature control in hybrid and all-electric vehicles were addressed.
In his welcoming remarks, Ward Atkinson, symposium co-chairman, warned of one potential problem: “With the current list of SNAP refrigerants and cost differentials available to consumers, the potential hazard of R-1234yf systems becoming contaminated is very real. This will repeat the MAC system and equipment contamination issues the industry experienced during the CFC-12 to HFC-134a transition.” Another issue for forum focus identified by Atkinson is “the question of range for electric and hybrid vehicles and the (fact that) MAC energy requirements have a huge impact on the range of these vehicles. The potential of reduced MAC system cooling performance to improve range may be the next challenge in keeping the consumer satisfied.”
MACS is compiling and vetting information gathered during the symposium, and will have a full report in the November/December 2011 issue of MACS ACtion magazine.